Android offers developers many opportunities: it is a universal, open platform used by millions of users worldwide, with a surprisingly easy-to-use platform for distributing applications. Fortunately, there are many tools available for Android developers to help you get started quickly. Learn more at androidappsforme.
Every year there are more and more tools, and their effectiveness is constantly increasing. There has never been a better time to create your own Android app! So, in this article, we have compiled a list of the 10 best free tools for Android app development that you can start using to make your life a bit easier.
Table of Contents
Best free tools for Android app development
1. Android Studio
No list of the best tools for developing apps for Android is complete without Android Studio. This is the official Android IDE created by Google. This is why Android Studio is number one for developers who want to create apps that match Google’s Material design and access to the platform’s advanced features.
The IDE is where the developer spends most of their time. Android Studio acts as an editor for your chosen programming language. It supports Java, C++, and Kotlin, which can create APK files and file systems to organize your project. It also includes an XML editor and an advanced layout editor.
2. AVD Manager
The AVD Manager tool is bundled with Android Studio. This is a handy instrument that allows you to test your apps without installing them on physical devices. More importantly, the AVD Manager allows you to create various emulators with different screen sizes, specifications, and Android versions.
You will see what your creation will look like on any device and thus provide support among the most popular gadgets. The performance of the tool is constantly improving. This is especially true for fast port mode, which runs the Intel version of Android on your computer and eliminates the need for instruction-level emulation.
3. Android Device Monitor
Another tool is the built-in Android Device Monitor. It allows you to monitor your physical or virtual device while it is running.
In return, you will get information about how many processes are running on the thread, network statistics, LogCat, and so on. This tool is great for testing the performance of your applications.
4. Android Debug Bridge
ADB is a command-line tool that allows you to copy files to and from your device, install and delete applications, and perform backup and restore on all Android devices, including virtual ones.
5. Unity 3D
Unity 3D is the first tool on our list that is not pre-installed in Android Studio. Unity 3D is a game engine and IDE for cross-platform game development. It is effortless to learn and has a large set of features for game development.
You can create a game using Android Studio, but in Unity, you can do the same much easier, without a lot of wasted time and headaches. By the way, Unity has the ability to create augmented reality apps for Daydream.
5. Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine is a game engine and an alternative option for cross-platform and full-featured game development. The tool, like Unity, supports Android development; but in terms of graphics, Unreal games are much superior to Unity games.
However, Unity has the best built-in support for mobile and 2D creations. So it is the preferred option for most mobile game developers. It doesn’t matter which engine you choose in the end, since there’s no reason why you can’t give them both a chance.
6. GameMaker: Studio
GameMaker: Studio is another game development tool, this time for 2D games. It is much easier to use than Unity or Unreal and allows you to create games with little or no coding.
However, if you want to add a little more customization to your game, you can use the built-in programming language for beginners – GML or GameMaker Language.
B4A is the most obscure Android app development tool from Anywhere Software. This is a company that specializes in the concept of rapid app development. As the name suggests, B4A is an IDE and interpreter that allows developers to create applications using the BASIC programming language.
Although B4A is a project developed by just one person, IT managed to combine many useful advanced features. These features include wireless debugging via Bluetooth, a visual editor for adding and organizing views, and so on. This software is not free.
With B4A, you can do almost everything you do with Java, but much faster and with fewer templates. Any performance degradation compared to other IDES is minimal. However, you should still learn the official method for creating apps, especially if you want to use specific libraries.
8. Xamarin in Visual Studio
This is a good and free choice if you plan to release an app for both Android and IOS but don’t want to write your code twice. It is also a great choice for those already familiar with C# and/or Visual Studio.
Before the advent of Android Studio, developers used Eclipse as the main tool for developing Android applications. This IDE supports several different programming languages, including Java with the Android SDK. Unlike Android Studio, Eclipse does not offer built-in support and requires more careful configuration.
GitHub is an online service for hosting and joint development of IT projects. It also includes a version control system. This is very convenient if you need to make a backup copy of your project or a good code sample to use as an example for developing your own project.
If you are a beginner, you will most likely download the code of various projects to your computer and then rewrite it as you wish. If you’ve ever worked with a team to develop a large app, but you’ve never used GitHub — it’s time to fix it!
With this, we sum up our list of the best free tools for Android app development. Do let us know which one you most often and why? If we missed mentioning any of your favorite tools, let us know in the comments section below.